Theater

Church Basement Ladies at BDT serves up laughs & life lessons

BDT Stage Boulder Dinner Theatre logo“The Church Basement Ladies” is back on stage at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre. The show was so popular last fall that BDT director, Michael J. Duran, decided to produce the sequel this fall. There are five Church Basement Ladies sequels, and listening to the crowd’s response to this one, I have a feeling Colorado will eventually be treated to them all.

Boulder’s Dinner Theater has repackaged their venue as the BDT Stage, and you’ll find their brand new logo already on their Facebook page and twitter account. And here’s a hint. If you check in on Facebook when you arrive at the theater you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free dessert.

We missed the first “Church Basement Ladies,” and I was not about to miss the sequel, “A Second Helping.” Thankfully, you do not have to have seen the first play to enjoy this sequel as they are each standalone stories.   Continue reading

Colorado Dinner Theater: Peter Pan flies into Candlelight

Photo courtesy of Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.

Photo courtesy of Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.

For six years, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown has been the place for top-notch dinner theater in Northern Colorado. I enjoy the venue because inside this expansive and luxurious space I am transported to another place and time.

Sometimes I’m transported to Bangkok (The King & I) or a steam liner (Anything Goes) or the mighty Mississippi (Big River, the Adventure of Huck Finn). In their newest production, the audience is transported to Neverland, complete with a flying Peter Pan, ticking crocodile and dancing Indians.

We saw the play on the Thursday before the Fourth  of July, and the place was packed with folks of all ages. Having missed the last show, we were interested to see what new items had made it onto the menu, and we weren’t disappointed. Since Neverland is a tropical place, the chef designed entrees with a Jamaican flair. Continue reading

An evening with the “Sisters of Swing”

“Sisters of Swing” at Boulder’s Dinner Theater

Most people are familiar with Andrew Sisters’ impersonators, but the actresses on stage at Boulder’s Dinner Theater become more than simple caricatures of the famous trio. The musical, “Sisters of Swing,” gives the audience a glimpse beyond the makeup and stockings and into the lives of three, real women, who lived, laughed, loved and endured heartbreak, just like the rest of us.

Sister of Swing at BDT - HeidiTown 2

Photos courtesy of Boulder’s Dinner Theatre.

The Sisters of Swing at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre is the regional premiere of this show, and the talented cast took the stage on March 7, so there’s only a few weeks left to catch this one. We saw the show on a Thursday in a nearly full house.

On our last couple visits to BDT, Ryan’s enjoyed the customer favorite, chicken cordon bleu. I, however, opted for the newest menu item, a yellow coconut curry with peppers, potatoes, carrots, onions and basil served over brown rice. I added chicken for protein and I think most curry lovers will be very happy with this item. Continue reading

“9 to 5″ at Candlelight proves women do it better

9 to 5 press picture Candlelight Dinner Playhouse

Photo courtesy Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.

Who could forget Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda in the 1980 woman empowerment movie, “Nine to Five,” the memorable film about three fed-up coworkers who kidnap their chauvinistic boss and turn around the office in his absence?

We saw the stage play at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse last week, and while they have big shoes, and in one case, a big bra to fill, the three lead actresses in this musical prove they’ve got the comedy chops to take on these iconic roles.

The menu at Candlelight changes a bit with each play, and this time around we had the choice of meatloaf sandwich, chicken casserole, a tilapia dish and several vegetarian options as well as upgrades such as prime rib.

We each enjoyed the hearty chicken casserole, and while I stuck with wine for dinner, Ryan ordered one of the show’s specialty drinks, the Judy’s “New Girl” Attitude Adjustment, a white Russian with an almond joy Continue reading

Laugh a lot at Spamalot at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre

Spamalot_Glenn_Ross-56

All photos courtesy of Boulder’s Dinner Theatre,  by Glenn Ross.

Monty Python has always been part of my life, and not just the famous Holy Grail movie. My dad was a true fan, and loved “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” the television show that aired from 1969-1974. Of course, we watched the shows on videos that we rented from the library during the 80s.

After seeing them as an adult, I am surprised that my parents, who wouldn’t let us watch a PG movie without first approving it, would let us watch skits with lines like, “Shut your festering gob, you tit!” and “My nipples explode with delight!”.

The play, “Spamalot,” first appeared on Broadway in 2005. It was written by Monty Python alum, Eric Idol who “lovingly ripped it off” from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” It is a parody of the King Arthur story with lots of references to the Holy Grail. While featuring its own musical score, “Spamalot” inserts songs from other Python movies, including a personal favorite, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” from “Life of Brian,” the best Python film of all, in my opinion.   Continue reading

I love “She Loves Me” at Candlelight

SheLovesMe-press photoThe folks at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse have outdone themselves. Their new production, “She Loves Me,” is cute, funny and smart, and it will go down in my mind as one of my favorite Candlelight shows.

I attended a Sunday matinee with my friend and her fiancé’s 12-year-old daughter. It was their first time at the venue and they were amazed at the beauty of the place. As a reminder, your meal is included in the price of your ticket at the Candlelight and this dinner theater has never disappointed when it comes to their culinary skills.

We started out with stuffed mushrooms and each of us ordered the House Made Hungarian Sausage served with a mild horseradish sour cream sauce alongside green beans and potatoes. The sausage was moist and the horseradish sauce was delicious on everything. I definitely recommend this dish.

The stage sets at Candlelight are always top notch, but this set blew me away. Many of the play’s scenes occur inside a parfumerie shop, and the set design was lovely. Everything was perfect, from the lightening to the color on the walls and the fleur-de-lis details on the cabinetry. Continue reading

Get an eyeful at The Full Monty

Full Monty at Boulders Dinner Theater

Photo by Brian Norber.

If you enjoy laughing so hard that your face hurts the next day, then this is the show for you. If you are a prude, stay home. “The Full Monty” is rated R for language and nudity, but it gets an A+ for humor.

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about food. For those of you who aren’t familiar with dinner theater, your ticket comes with a full dinner served to you by the same people who you will watch perform on stage. They put the multi in multi-talented.

I’ve been going to Boulder’s Dinner Theater for a very long time and their menu has grown and changed through the years. The old standby and guest favorite, Chicken Cordon Bleu, is still on the menu, but there are some great new additions.

A couple delicious salad entrees have come and gone, but today my favorite is the honey smoked salmon salad. They don’t skimp on the salmon on this entree, and it left me satisfyingly full. My husband ordered the Teriyaki Beef Noddle Bowl, my favorite on our last visit.

We attended the show with another couple, and they enjoyed the Chicken Cordon Bleu and Vegetable Curry. I truly think that Boulder’s Dinner Theater has turned it up a notch in the last couple years when it comes to their culinary offerings.

Hot Metal, a specialty drink during The Full Monty at Boulders Dinner Theater

Hot Metal

In a moment of insanity, my husband ordered Hot Metal, one of this show’s specialty drinks, a top shelf margarita with a tiny corona tipped into it and served in a souvenir glass. It was tasty and we now have our very own “The Full Monty” pint glass. Continue reading

The Wizard comes to Boulder’s Dinner Theater

Wizard of Oz, Boulder's Dinner Theater Summer 2013When Ryan and I heard that “The Wizard of Oz” was coming to Boulder’s Dinner Theater this summer, we had to see it. We had never seen the stage show, and we knew BDT would be the place to see it done well.

Our evening started out as expected with delicious bread and crispy salad. The menu has changed a bit since our visit last fall and I opted for a newer item, the Asian Beef Noodle Salad, and Ryan chose BDT’s old standby, Chicken Cordon Bleu.

At dinner theater, the price of your ticket includes the meal and the show, but there are add-ons available such as appetizers, dessert and cocktails, beer and wine. I ordered a nice, tart chardonnay, while Ryan ordered a frozen margarita in celebration of summer. The BDT has an extensive margarita list, including one that comes in a collectible Wizard of Oz glass.

Both of our meals were good, and I would definitely order my Asian salad again.

Wizard of Oz, Boulder's Dinner Theater Summer 2013Now, on to the show.

First, I want to commend BDT for always having a good variety of shows in their lineup. Our last visit was to see the for-adults-only “Avenue Q.” After “The Wizard” this summer, “The Full Monty” will take the stage in the fall, followed by “Spamalot,” “Sisters of Swing, the story of the Andrew Sisters” and “Shrek.” Way to keep it interesting, BDT!

Continue reading

Avenue Q at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre – Like nothing you expect

Avenue Q Kate & Christmas Eve

Avenue Q at Boulder's Dinner Theatre runs through November 3, 2012. (Courtesy photo)

Dinner theaters often produce shows that will appeal to a mass audience, and old Broadway musicals are the norm. So when I go to dinner theater, I’m usually familiar with the production. Last weekend was the exception to that rule, and it was refreshing to have no preconceived notions about the show I was about to see at Boulder’s Dinner Theater.

In the spring, we saw “Cinderella” at BDT, and were pleasantly surprised to find a new, expanded menu. This time we started with the artichoke spinach dip appetizer, and I have to admit to enjoying the hummus platter on our last visit much more. Our entrees, however, were both outstanding. I opted for the potato cod served with Spanish rice and vegetables. The cod was flaky, and the chipotle aioli drizzle was packed with flavor. Ryan ordered the chicken cordon bleu, because it never disappoints.

As we ate dinner, we admired the stage set. It’s an authentic looking New York apartment building, complete with trash can and fire escape. It reminded both Ryan and I of Michael Garman’s Magic Town in his Old Colorado City studio.

“Avenue Q” is a puppet show for adults, and the winner of three Tony Awards. While the presentation is something you’ve probably never seen before, the story is ages old.

Avenue Q entire cast

Courtesy photo

Princeton is fresh out of college with a BA in English, and finds the only apartment he can afford is on Avenue Q, a not-so-trendy part of New York City. While he searches for his purpose in life he meets his neighbors, an eclectic bunch that includes an engaged interracial couple, an assistant kindergarten teacher, an odd couple, a porn-junkie and Gary Coleman as the apartment super.

The last character is somewhat confusing, but the creators of “Avenue Q” thought the Coleman character epitomized the play’s central themes, and those themes involve the misconception that we are somehow special and the painful realization that comes with learning life is much harder than anyone told us it was going to be when we were children.

There are only six cast members in “Avenue Q,” but they have more talent than most much larger casts – they sing, they puppeteer, they change characters and voices on a dime, and they keep the audience in stitches.

While Princeton (Brett Ambler) and Kate (Ellen Kaye) are the two main characters, I can’t pick a favorite in “Avenue Q” because the entire cast works their butts off in this show. MariJane Scott, new to BDT, plays Christmas Eve, one of two “humans” in the show, and Scott Beyette is her fiancé Brian. Beyette proved his comedic chops when he was Don Lockwood in BDT’s production of “Singin’ in the Rain” in 2010, while Scott proves hers in this musical.

puppets in Avenue Q

Courtesy Photo

Joanie Brosseau and Seth Caikowski round out the cast, and these two often perform together as one puppet – each taking an arm. They are also two of the funniest characters in the musical, the Bad Idea Bears. These are the friends we’ve all had (or have been) through the years, the ones who suggest shots at 2 a.m. just before leaving the bar.

“Avenue Q” is much more relatable and poignant than you might think. Numbers like, “We’re all a little racist,” points to the hypocrisy that is rampant in today’s society. “I Wish I Could Go Back to College,” reminds us of how easy we had it in college, and why we can’t go back.

This musical is not for children, so unless you want to explain what those puppets are doing in that bedroom scene, leave the kids at home. However, “Avenue Q” reminds adults, in a not-so-subtle way, to take life less seriously, and live in the moment, because all you’ve really got is now.

I’ve been attending Boulder’s Dinner Theatre for a decade, but BDT is celebrating its 35th year in Colorado, and they set the bar for professionalism in the industry. “Avenue Q” is on stage at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre through November 3. To buy tickets go to BouldersDinnerTheatre.com  and be sure to like BDT’s new Facebook page.

Fiddler on the Roof ““ delights through song, inspires through art

Fiddler on the Roof

Patrick Sawyer & Melissa Swift-Sawyer as Tevye & Golde in Fiddler on the Roof at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse. Courtesy photo.

My parents were fairly strict about movies when I was a child, but the 1971 musical, “Fiddler on the Roof,” was allowed in our home, and it became a childhood favorite. As a child, I also saw the play, and was enamored with it as well, so as you can imagine, I was looking forward to Candlelight’s production

Candlelight Dinner Playhouse is in its fifth season, and the well-appointed theater is located in Johnstown, Colorado, just south of Loveland, near the famed Johnson’s Corner.

We saw “Fiddler” on a Thursday night, and much to my delight our drink server was Bren Eyestone Burron. I’m a big fan of Bren, who appeared in my favorite production of “Chicago” a number of years ago at Boulder’s Dinner Theater.

Bren convinced me to try the one of the show’s drink specials, but I failed to write down the name. It was a twist on a Cape Cod, and arrived with a garnish of freshly sliced apples. Candlelight’s specialty drinks are always a delight. Ryan ordered a margarita, and was disappointed that it arrived in a pint glass. However, the marg was quite tasty, despite the glass.

Candelight changes up their menu to complement the show, and for “Fiddler” they opted for stuffed cabbage rolls and roasted green peppers, in addition to a chicken and fish dish, as well as the upgrades.

The stuffed cabbage rolls were delicious, but the roasted green peppers with quinoa, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, feta cheese and onions, served with a potato latke and steamed vegetables is a real winner. It may be a vegetarian dish, but it’s so flavorful you won’t miss the meat. Ryan declared it was the tastiest meal he’d ever eaten at a dinner theater – high praise coming from a serious meat eater.

Once the show got underway, the audience was transported to Russia, where a tightknit Jewish community is faced with changing times. The most unique part of this production is the set. The set design was influenced by the work of artist Marc Chagall (1887-1985).

Chagall’s art has a childlike whimsy, and his most famous paintings were of Jewish villages. His work was bright and simple, filled with nostalgia and a slightly fantastical picture of his people and their ancient religion.

The Candlelight has brought this whimsical approach to the stage with a quirky set that serves as functional art. I’m not going to try to describe the set in this review, but it adds a wonderful sense of joy to this story.

For those unfamiliar with “Fiddler on the Roof,” it is the story of Tevye, the dairyman, his wife, Golde and his five daughters. Tevye and Golde are played by real life husband and wife Patrick Sawyer and Melissa Swift-Sawyer. Their onstage connection is palpable, and their duets are the best in the show.

The music and dancing in this production had the audience tapping their toes, and at times, even singing along. After all, “If I Were A Rich Man” and “Sunrise, Sunset” are well-known and much-loved tunes.

As Tevye struggles to do what is right by his five daughters and by God, his good intentions are thwarted at every turn. His frustration comes out in song, and Patrick Sawyer’s portrayal of this exasperated father is truly moving.

I always talk about scene stealers when I write theater reviews, but Sawyer holds his own in this production of “Fiddler.” He is the star, and he lives up to the job. However, Barb Reeves as the matchmaker, Yente, has great comedic timing and managed to get the audience hooting with laughter on more than one occasion.

Despite being set in a Jewish community in Tsarist Russia, the 1964 musical, “Fiddler on the Roof,” is timeless. We can all related to Tevye struggles with a changing world, and his desire to do the right thing, even when the right thing proves to be the most difficult.

With an inspired set and standout performances “Fiddler on the Roof,” at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, should be on your schedule this fall. It is playing now through October 28, 2012. Visit ColoradoCandlelight.com for show times and ticket information.

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